The story surrounding veteran Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook as of late has been a frustrating one for fans of the franchise, but it sounds like one way or another the saga may be coming to an end sooner rather than later.
As fans will know Seabrook was not included on the Blackhawks roster as they entered the bubble for the upcoming Stanley Cup Playoffs, a sign that the team still viewed him as a liability rather than an asset at this stage of his career. The decision to leave him off the roster was preceded by a number of healthy scratches from head coach Jeremy Colliton early in the season, healthy scratches that would lead to the 3 surgeries that sidelined Seabrook for most of the regular season.
No one believed that Seabrook would be able to return in time for the Stanley Cup Playoffs and had it not been for the delay caused by the COVID-19 pandemic there's no way he would have recovered enough to rejoin his teammates. Thanks to the delay however Seabrook was able to make something of a miraculous comeback and was ready to go on the Blackhawks opening day of training camp. In spite of his heroic efforts to make that a reality however it was clear to those who watched the Blackhawks in training camp that Seabrook simply wasn't able to maintain the pace set by the other players on the ice, and he arguably looked like the slowest man on the Blackhawks roster.
As a result the Blackhawks opted not to include him and now Seabrook will focus on his preparations for the upcoming 2020 - 2021 regular season. There are legitimate questions however about whether or not the Blackhawks will see fit to use him, and to hear Seabrook talk about his situation it sounds like he is intent on playing next season no matter what.
“I don’t know what my place is here with the Blackhawks, that’s a question for Stan [Bowman] and Jeremy,” Seabrook said as per Blackhawks insider Mark Lazerus. “As far as the NHL goes, I know that I can be an impact player on a hockey club, and this time off has re-energized me to be better. .. I’m playing hockey next year. That’s the bottom line for me.”
Seabrook has made it clear that he wants to be a Blackhawk for life, but it sounds like whether or not he gets to play next season may play a big role on whether or not that becomes a reality. If the Blackhawks do choose to leave him on the sidelines it will be interesting to see what measures Seabrook, with an albatross of a contract attached to him, will take to ensure that he does get to play at the NHL level next season.